EP25 – Picking your Money Maker Theme – WPwatercooler – March 11 2013

March 11, 2013, 5:19 p.m. (9 years, 6 months ago)
This week on WPwatercooler we are talking about what are some of the criteria to look for in picking a “business theme” for you next business related website.
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Jason introduces the business theme topic. Chris calls out Steve for being skeptical about the topic. A few OC-ValleyGirl side comments ensue. Steve declares that every theme is a business theme, because every website has a purpose, depending on the business. Richard says there is a major difference between business themes and personal themes. He says personal themes are “blogs, people, comment, conversation”, whereas things like user comments may not be front and center, might focus on calls to action and focuses on making money rather than being a “rage face” site, that business websites focus more on being a CMS rather than a blog.
Sé asks “how is that necessarily related to the theme rather than the content?” Richard agrees, but says you have to have the right layout. He says business themes have calls to action, testimonials, contact pages, Sé says those things are all content-related. Jason says that you need to have areas available to put in your content easily and that newbies will struggle with where to put things. Jason asks “what's a good way to start off and what criteria should people be looking for? Sé says “setting your static front page!” and then says we can all now go home. Richard concedes, it all depends on the business and what you're trying to do with the site.
Julie says people get hung up on the “pretties”, i.e. the colors, the fonts, and not the functionality and if it can do what it needs to do. Steve agrees, that is a pitfall, people back their content into their theme, rather than having form follow function. He then asks Richard, “what if your business is a blog?” Richard says you have to look at how you're monetizing that blog, whether that is ad placement, referrals, etc. and that you can't rely on every theme to have a perfect match.
Sé says it is about what plugins you're using, and that any theme can be used for a business site if the objective of the site has been mapped out. It then becomes about what you add on to make it a full-featured business site, which comes back to “Should functionality go in a theme or should it go in a plugin?”
Chris says we know the answer: Functionality goes into themes. In reference to having ads onsite, he says non-sponsor AdSanity by PixelJar is the best ad management plugin.
Sé says that themes that are trying to fit all of the functionality into the theme contribute to the breakdown of WordPress becoming difficult to use, and that stripped-down themes are better.
Chris says customers that go to ThemeForest and decide they want a specific theme often don't have content and even a perfect theme won't look anything like the demo without content.
Suzette says she spends a lot of time with ThemeForest themes making small tweaks. Everyone agrees. Sé comments that many themes are locked down and small tweaks are very difficult to make. Patrick agrees, says making tiny change takes a long time. He mentions that WooThemes WooFeatures and WooTestimonials are great plugins. Steve mentions WooCommerce. Sé mentions Testmonials Widget. Suzette asks if Testimonials Widget can be used with Custom Post Types, Steve says it creates a Custom Post Type. Sé says something like that can help make even a default theme like twenty twelve into a business theme, while keeping things simple.
Julie says often more complex themes can break plugins, so starting with a streamlined theme allows for plugins and features to be swapped out later on. Steve says _s is the best business theme. Sé agrees,

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